Quality Assurance and the Shift Towards Private Governance in Higher Education: Europeanisation Through the Back Door?

Eva Hartmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This contribution focuses on quality assurance (QA) agencies in the sphere of higher education. It develops a theoretical framework that interrelates systems theory with Gramsci's theory of hegemony with a view to situating this new control of universities in the broader context of a further differentiation of society and emerging heterarchical modes of governance. A closer study of the emerging European market of QA agencies highlights the European dimension of this differentiation and the role of the market in advancing a variable geometry in the context of the European Higher Education Area.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobalisation, Societies and Education
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)309-324
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Higher education
  • Quality assurance
  • Europe
  • Luhmann
  • Transnationalisation of the state
  • Private governance

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